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Abortion continues to be hot Aurora issue
By Amy Boerema | Daily Herald Staff
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Published: 11/14/2007 12:31 AM

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Abortion-related issues still are very much on the minds of Aurora residents.

Nearly 40 people, both opponents and abortion rights supporters, signed up to speak on various topics at Tuesday's council meeting, touching on everything from perceived violations of free speech rights to a parental notification resolution.

Large numbers of people have continued to come to council sessions after the October opening of a controversial Planned Parenthood facility on the city's far east side.

Many protesters said they're angry at how they were treated at a recent rally.

They said there was confusion about where they could stand and police told them they couldn't say things like, "You are going to kill your baby" to women going into the clinic.

"This may strike some on this council is inappropriate, even crude," protest organizer Eric Scheidler said. "Nevertheless, those words are constitutionally protected."

That's just one incident in which the city "has failed to respect our First Amendment rights over the past three months," he said.

They'll be included in an amended complaint against the city, he said, which already alleges officers of harassing protesters.

Police Chief William Powell said his officers have "bent over backward" to accommodate the group. At the last rally, he said some directives, like moving them, were given for their own safety.

"From now on, the Aurora Police Department will enforce every ordinance that's on the books," he told the crowd. "I hope (people) will go along with what we ask them to do. If not, I will guarantee there will be arrests made."

Abortion opponents plan to meet at 9 a.m. Saturday at the clinic with plans to hold a rally every third Saturday of the month.

"As long as Planned Parenthood remains open, we will be out there and in here, praying and protesting," Scheidler told aldermen. "We're here to stay."

The protest was only one abortion-related issue raised on Tuesday. Others spoke out both for and against parental notification with the city to soon debate a resolution urging the state to enforce its own law.

"The only effect of this resolution is to embroil the city in a state issue and for no good reason," said Daniel Grubb of DeKalb.

Harvey McArthur of North Aurora said he's glad the clinic is open and urged aldermen to dismiss a pending appeal against the facility's opening.

"This is just trying to find any tool (available) to disrupt the work of the clinic that's there," he said.